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Fellow -citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives ; 

In the midst of iinprecededted political troubles, we have cause of 
great gratitude to God for unusual good health, and most abundant 

You will not be surprised to learn that, in the peculiar exigencies 
of the times, our intercourse with foreign nations has been attended 
with profound solicitude, chiefly turning upon our own domestic 

A disloyal portion of the American people have, during the whole 
year, been engaged in an attempt to divide and destroy the Union. 
A nation which endures factious domestic division, is exposed to dis- 
respect abroad; and one party, if not both, is sure, sooner or later, 
to invoke foreign intervention. 

Nations thus tempted to interfere, are not always able to resist the 
counsels of seeming expediendy and ungenerous ambition, although 
measures adopted under such influences seldom fail to be unfortunate 
and injurious to those adopting them. 

The disloyal citizens of the United States who have ofi'ered the ruin 
of our country, in return for the aid and comfort which they have in- 
voked abroad, have received less patronage and encouragement than 
they probably expected. If it were just to suppose, as the insurgents 
have seemed to assume, that foreign nations, in this case, discarding 
all moral, social, and treaty obligations, would act solely, and self- 
ishly, for the most speedy restoration of commerce, including, espe- 
cially, the acquisition of cotton, those nations appear, as yet, not to 
have seen their way to their object more directly, or clearly, through 
the destruction, than through the preservation, of the Union. If we 
could dare to believe that foreign nations are actuated by no higher 
principle than this, I am quite sure a sound argument could be made 
to show them that they can reach their aim more readily, and easily, 
by aiding to crush this rebellion, than by giving encouragement to it. 

The principal lever relied on by the insurgents for exciting foreign 



nations to hostility against us, as already intimated, is the embarrass- 
ment of commerce. Those nations, however, not improbably, saw 
from the first, that it Avas the Union which made, as well our foreign, 
as our domestic commerce. They can scarcely have failed to per- 
ceive that the eifort for disunion produces the existing difficulty; and 
that one strong nation promises more durable peace, and a more ex- 
tensive, valuable and reliable commerce, than can the same nation 
broken into hostile fragments. 

It is not my purpose to review our discussions with foreign states ; 
because whatever might be their wishes, or dispositions, the integrity 
of our country, and the stability of our government, mainly depend, 
not upon them, but on the loyalty, virtue, patriotism, and intelligence 
of the American people. The correspondence itself, with the usual 
reservations, is herewith submitted. 

I venture to hope it will appear that we have practiced prudence, 
and liberality towards foreign powers, averting causes of irritation; 
and, with firmness, maintaining our own rights and honor. 

Since, however, it is apparent that here, as in every other state, 
foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, I recommend 
that adequate and ample measures be adopted for maintaining the 
public defences on every side. While, under this general recom- 
mendation, provision for defending our sea-coast line readily occurs 
to the mind, I also, in the same connexion, ask the attention of Con- 
gress to our great lakes and rivers. It is believed that some fortifi- 
cations and depots of arms and munitions, with harbor and naviga- 
tion improvements, all at well selected points upon these, would be 
of great importance to the national defence and preservation. I ask 
attention to the views of the Secretary of War, expressed in his 
report, upon the same general subject. 

I deem it of importance that the loyal regions of East Ten- 
nessee and western North Carolina should be connected with Ken- 
tucky, and other faithful parts of the Union, by railroad. I therefore 
recommend, as a military measure, that Congress provide for the 
construction of such road, as speedily as possible. Kentucky, no 
doubt, will co-operate, and, through her legislature, make the most 
judicious selection of a line. The northern terminus must connect 
with some existing railroad; and whether the route shall be from 
Lexington, or Nicholasville, to the Cumberland Gap; or from Lebanon 
to the Tennessee line, in the direction of Knoxville; or on some still 


different line, can easily be determined. Kentucky and the general 
government co-operating, the work can be completed in a very short 
time; and when done, it will be not only of vast present usefulness, 
but also a valuable permanent improvement, worth its cost in all the 

Some treaties, designed chiefly for the interests of commerce, and 
having no grave political importance, have been negotiated, and will 
be submitted to the Senate for their consideration. 

Although we have failed to induce some of the commercial powers 
to adopt a desirable melioration of the rigor of maritime war, A^e 
have removed all obstructions from the way of this humane reform, 
except such as are merely of temporary and accidental occurrence. 

I invite your attention to the correspondence between her Britannic 
Majesty's minister accredited to this government, and the Secretary 
of State, relative to the detention of the British ship Perthshire in 
June last, by the United States steamer Massachusetts, for a sup- 
posed breach of the blockade. As this detention was occasioned 
by an obvious misapprehension of the facts, and as justice requires 
that we should commit no belligerent act not founded in strict 
right, as sanctioned by public law, I recommend that an appro- 
priation be made to satisfy the reasonable demand of the owners of 
the vessel for her detention. 

I repeat the recommendation of my predecessor, in his annual 
message to Congress in December last, in regard to the disposition of 
the surplus which will probably remain after satisfying the claims of 
American citizens against China, pursuant to the awards of the com- 
missioners under the act of the 3d of March, 1859. If, however, .it 
should not be deemed advisable to carry that recommendation into 
effect, I would suggest that authority be given for investing the prin- 
cipal, over the proceeds of the surplus referred to,in good securities, 
with a view to the satisfaction of such other just claims of our citi- 
zens against China as are not unlikely to arise hereafter in the course 
of our extensive trade with that Empire. 

By the act of the 5th of August last. Congress authorized the 
President to instruct the commanders of suitable vessels to defend 
themselves against, and to capture pirates. This authority has been 
exercised in a single instance only. For the more etfectual protec- 
tion of our extensive and valuable commerce, in the eastern seas 
especially, it seems to me that it would also be advisable to authorize 


the commanders of sailing vessels to re-capture any prizes which 
pirates may make of United States vessels and their cargoes, and the 
consular courts, now established by law in eastern countries, to adju- 
dicate the cases, in the event that this should not be objected to by 
the local authorities. 

If any good reason exists why we should persevere longer in with- 
holding our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Hayti 
and Liberia, I am unable to discern it. Unwilling, however, to inaugu- 
rate a novel policy in regard to them without the approbation of 
Congress, I submit for your consideration the expediency of an 
appropriation for maintaining a charge d'affaires near each of those 
new states. It does not admit of doubt that important commercial 
advantages might be secured by favorable treaties with them. 

The operations of the treasury during the period which has elapsed 
since your adjournment have been conducted with signal success. The 
patriotism of the people has placed at the disposal of the government 
the large means demanded by the public exigencies. Much of the 
national loan has been taken by citizens of the industrial classes, 
whose confidence in their country' s faith, and zeal for their country's 
deliverance from present peril, have induced them to contribute to 
the support of the government the whole of their limited acquisi- 
tions. This fact imposes peculiar obligations to economy in disburse- 
ment and energy in action. 

The revenue from all sources, including loans, for the financial year 
ending on the 30th June, 1861, was eighty-six million eight hundred 
and thirty-five thousand nine hundred dollars and tw^enty-seven cents, 
and the expenditures for the same period, including payments on 
account of the public debt, were eighty-four million five hundred and 
seventy-eight thousand eight hundred and thirty-four dollars and 
forty-seven cents; leaving a balance in the treasury, on the 1st July, 
of two million two hundred and fifty-seven thousand sixty-five dollars 
and eighty cents. For the first quarter of the financial year, ending 
on the 30th September, 1861, the receipts from all sources, including 
the balance of 1st of July, Avere one hundred and two million five 
hundred and thirty-two thousand five hundred and nine dollars and 
twenty-seven cents, and the expenses ninety-eight million two hun- 
dred and thirty-nine thousand seven hundred and thirty-three dollars 
and nine cents; leaving a balance, on the 1st of October, 1861, of four 
million two hundred and ninety-two thousand seven hundred and 
seventy-six dollars and eighteen cents. 


Estimates for the remaining three quarters of the year, and for the 
financial year 1863, together with his views of ways and meana 
for meeting the demands contemplated by them, will be submitted 
to Congress by the Secretary of the Treasury. It is gratifying to 
know that the expenditures made necessary by the rebellion are not 
beyond the resources of the loyal people, and to believe that the 
same patriotism which has thus far sustained the government will 
continue to sustain it till Peace and Union shall again bless the land. 

I respectfully refer to the report of the Secretary of War for infor- 
mation respecting the numerical strength of the army, and for recom- 
mendations having in view an increase of its efficiency and the well 
being of the various branches of the service intrusted to his care. 
It is gratifying to know that the patriotism of the people has proved 
equal to the occasion, and that the number of troops tendered greatly 
exceeds the force which Congress authorized me to call into the 

I refer with pleasure to those portions of his report which make 
allusion to the creditable degree of discipline already attained by our 
troops, and to the excellent sanitary condition of the entire army. 

The recommendation of the Secretary for an organization of the 
militia upon a uniform basis, is a subject of vital importance to the 
future safety of the country, and is commended to the serious atten- 
tion of Congress. 

The large addition to the regular army, in connexion with the 
defection that has so considerably diminished the number of its 
officers, gives peculiar importance to his recommendation for increas- 
ing the corps of 'cadets to the greatest capacity of the Military 
Academ3\ I 

By mere omission, I presume. Congress has failed to provide chap- 
lains for hospitals occupied by volunteers. This subject was brought 
to my notice, and I was induced to draw up the form of a letter, one 
copy of which, properly addressed, has been delivered to each of 
the persons, and at the dates respectively named and stated, in a 
schedule, containing also the form of the letter, marked A, and here- 
with transmitted. 

These gentlemen, I understand, entered upon the duties desig- 
nated, at the times respectively stated in the schedule, and have 
labored faithfully therein ever since. I therefore recommend that 
they be compensated at the same rate as chaplains in the army. I 


further suggest that general provision be made for chaplains to serve 
at hospitals, as well as with regiments. 

The report of the Secretary of the Navy presents in detail the 
operations of that branch of the service, the activity and energy 
which have characterized its administration, and the results of meas- 
ures to increase its efficiency and power. Such have been the addi- 
tions, by construction and purchase, that it may almost be said a 
navy has been created and brought into service since our difficulties 

Besides blockading our extensive coast, squadrons larger than ever 
before assembled under our flag have been put afloat and performed 
deeds which have increased our naval renown. 

I would invite special attention to the recommendation of the Sec- 
retary for a more perfect organization of the navy by introducing 
additional grades in the service. 

The present organization is defective and unsatisfactory, and the 
suggestions submitted by the department will, it is believed, if 
adopted, obviate the difficulties alluded to, promote harmony, and 
increase the efficiency of the navy. 

There are three vacancies on the bench of the Supreme Court — 
two by the decease of Justices Daniel and McLean, and one by the 
resignation of Justice Campbell. I have so far forborne making 
nominations to fill these vacancies for reasons which I will now state. 
Two of the outgoing judges resided within the States now overrun 
by revolt; so that if successors were appointed in the same localities, 
they could not now serve upon their circuits; and many of the most 
competent men there, probably would not take the personal hazard 
of accepting to serve, even here, upon the supreme bench. I have 
been unwilling to throw all the appointments northward, thus dis- 
abling myself from doing justice to the south on the return of peace; 
although I may remark that to transfer to the north one which has 
heretofore been in the south, would not, with reference to territory 
and population, be unjust. 

During the long and brilliant judicial career of Judge McLean his 
circuit grew into an empire — altogether too large for any one judge 
to give the courts therein more than a nominal attendance — rising in 
population from one million four hundred and seventy thousand and 
eighteen, in 1830, to six million one hundred and fifty-one thousand 
four hundred and five, in 1860. 

Besides this, the country generally has outgrown our present judi- 


cial system. If uniformity was at all intended, the system requires 
that all the States shall be accommodated with circuit courts, attended 
by supreme judges, while, in fact, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, 
Florida, Texas, California, and Oregon, have never had any such courts. 
Nor can this well be remedied without a change of the system; because 
the adding of judges to the Supreme Court, enough for the accommoda- 
tion of all parts of the country, with circuit courts, would create a 
court altogether too numerous for a judicial body of any sort. And 
the evil, if it be one, will increase as new States come into the Union. 
Circuit courts are useful, or they are not useful. If useful, no State 
should be denied them ; if not useful, no State should h^^ve them. 
Let them be provided for all, or abolished as to all. 

Three modifications occur to me, either of which, I think, would 
be an improvement upon our present system. Let the Supreme 
Court be of convenient number in every event. Then, first, let the 
whole country be divided into circuits of convenient size, the supreme 
judges to serve in a number of them corresponding to their own num- 
ber, and independent circuit judges be provided for all the rest. Or, 
secondly, let the supreme judges be relieved from circuit duties, and 
circuit judges provided for all the circufts. Or, thirdly, dispense 
with circuit courts altogether, leaving the judicial functions wholly 
to the district courts and an independent Supreme Court. 

I respectfully recommend to the consideration of Congress the 
present condition of the statute laws, with the hope that Congress 
will be able to find an easy remedy for many of the inconveniences 
and evils which constantly embarrass those engaged in the practical 
administration of them. Since the organization of the government, 
Congress has enacted some five thousand acts and joint resolutions, 
which fill more than six thousand closely printed pages, and are 
scattered through many volumes. Many of these acts have been 
drawn in haste and without sufficient caution, so that their provisions 
are often obscure in themselves, or in conflict with each other, or at 
least so doubtful as to render it very difficult for even the best 
informed persons to ascertain precisely what the statute law really is. 

It seems to me very important that the statute laws should be 
made as plain and intelligible as possible, and be reduced to as small 
a compass as may consist with the fullness and precision of the will 
of the legislature and the perspicuity of its language. This, well 
done, would, I think, greatly facilitate the labors of those whose 
duty it is to assist in the administration of the laws, and would be a 


lasting benefit to the people, by placing before them, in a more 
accessible and intelligible form, the laws which so deeply concern 
their interests and their duties. 

1 am informed by some whose opinions I respect, that all the acts 
of Congress now in force, and of a permanent and general nature, 
might be revised and re-written, so as to be embraced in one volume 
(or at most, two volumes) of ordinary and convenient size. And I 
respectfully recommend to Congress to consider of the subject, and, 
if my suggestion be approved, to devise such plan as to their wisdom 
shall seem most proper for the attainment of the end proposed. 

One of the unavoidable consequences of the present insurrection 
is the entire suppression, in many places, of all the ordinary means of 
administering civil justice by the officers, and in the forms of existing 
law. This is the case, in whole or in part, in all the insurgent 
States; and as our armies advance upon and take possession of parts 
of those States, the practical evil becomes more apparent. There 
are no courts nor officers to whom the citizens of other States may 
apply for the enforcement of their lawful claims against citizens of 
the insurgent States; and there is a vast amount of debt constituting 
such claims. Some have 'estimated it as high as two hundred million 
dollars, due, in large part, from insurgents, in open rebellion, to 
loyal citizens who are, even now, making great sacrifices in the dis- 
charge of their patriotic duty to support the government. 

Under these circumstances, I have been urgently solicited to estab- 
lisli, by military power, courts to administer summary justice in such 
cases. I have thus far declined to do it, not because I had any doubt 
that the end pi'oposed — the collection of the debts — was just and right 
in itself, but because I have been unwilling to go beyond the pressure 
of necessity in the unusual exercise of power. But the powers of 
Congress I suppose are equal to the anomalous occasion, and there- 
fore I refer the whole matter to Congress, with the hope that a plan 
may be devised for the administration of justice in all such parts of 
the insurgent States and Territories as may be under the control of 
this government, whether by a voluntary return to allegiance and 
order, or by the power of our arms. This, however, not to be a per- 
manent institution, but a temporary substitute, and to cease as soon 
as the ordinary courts can be re-established in peace. 

It is important that some more convenient means should be pro- 
vided, if possible, for the adjustment of claims against the govern- 
ment, especially in view of their increased number by reason of the 


war. It is as much the duty of government to render prompt justice 
against itself, in favor of citizens, as it is to administer the same, be- 
tween private individuals. The investigation and adjudication of 
claims, in their nature belong to the judicial department ; besides it 
is apparent that the attention of Congress, will be more than usually 
engaged, for some time to come, with great national questions. It 
was intended, by the organization of the court of claims, mainly to 
remove this branch of business from the halls of Congress ; but while 
the court has proved to be an effective, and valuable means of inves- 
tigation, it in great degree fails to effect the object of its creation, 
for want of power to make its judgments final. 

Fully aware of the delicacy, not to say the danger, of the subject, 
I commend to your careful consideration whether this power of making 
judgments final, may not properly be given to the court, reserving 
the right of appeal on questions of law to the Supreme Court, with 
such other provisions as experience may have shown to be necessary. 

I ask atteirtion to the report of the Postmaster General, the follow- 
ing being a summary statement of the condition of the department: 

The revenue from all sources during the fiscal year ending June 
30, 1861, including the annual permanent appropriation of seven 
hundred thousand dollars for the transportation of "free mail matter," 
was nine million forty-nine thousand two hundred and ninety-six 
dollars and forty cents, being about two per cent, less than the reve- 
nue for 1860. I 

The expenditures were thirteen million six hundred and six 
thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine dollars and eleven cents, 
showing a decrease of more than eight per cent, as compared with 
those of the previous year, and leaving an excess of expenditure over 
the revenue for the last fiscal year of four million five hundred and 
fifty-seven thousand four hundred and sixty-two dollars and seventy- 
one cents. 

The gross revenue for the year ending June 30, 1863, is estimated 
at an increase of four per cent, on that of 1861, making eight million 
six hundred and eighty-three thousand dollars, to which should be 
added the earnings of the department in carrying free matter, viz: 
seven hundred thousand dollars, making nine million three hundred 
and eighty-three thousand dollars. 

The total expenditures for 1863 are estimated at twelve million 
five hundred and twenty-eight thousand dollars, leaving an estimated 


deficiency of three mil) ion one hundred and forty-five thousand 
dollars to be supplied from the treasury, in addition to the permanent 

The present insurrection shows, I think, that the extension of this 
District across the Potomac river, at the time of establishing the 
capital here, was eminently wise, and consequently that the relin- 
.quishment of that portion of it which lies within the State of Vir- 
ginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration 
the expediency of regaining that part of the District, and the restora- 
tion of the original boundaries thereof, through negotiations with the 
State of Virginia. 

The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with the accompany- 
ing documents, exhibits the condition of the several branches of the 
public business pertaining to that department. The depressing influ- 
ences of the insurrection have been especially felt in the operations 
of the Patent and General Land Offices. The cash receipts from 
the sales of public lands during the past year have exceeded the 
expenses of our land system only about two hundred thousand dol- 
lars. The sales have been entirely suspended in the southern States, 
while the interruptions to the business of the country, and the diver- 
sion of large numbers of men from labor to military service, have 
obstructed settlements in the new States and Territories of the 

The receipts of the Patent Office have declined in nine months 
about one hundred thousand dollars, rendering a large reduction of 
the force employed necessary to make it self-sustaining. 

The demands upon the Pension Office will be largely increased by 
the insurrection. Numerous applications for pensions, based upon 
the casualties of the existing war, have already been made. There 
is reason to believe that many who are now upon the pension rolls 
and in receipt of the bounty of the government, are in the ranks of 
the insurgent army, or giving them aid and comfort. The Secretary 
of the Interior has directed a suspension of the payment of the pen- 
sions of such persons upon proof of their disloyalty. I recommend 
that Congress authorize that officer to cause the names of such per- 
sons to be stricken from the pension rolls. 

The relations of the government with the Indian tribes have been 
greatly disturbed by the insurrection, especially in the southern super- 
intendency and in that of New Mexico. The Indian country south of 
Kansas is in the possession of insurgents from Texas and Arkansas. The 


agents of the United States appointed since the 4th of March for 
this superintendency have been unable to reach their posts, while the 
most of those who were in office. before that time have espoused the 
insurrectionary cause, and assume to exercise the powers of agents 
by virtue of commissions from the insurrectionists. It has been stated 
in the public press that a portion of those Indians have been organ- 
ized as a military force, and are attached to the army of the insur- 
gents. Although the government has no oiScial information upon 
this subject, letters have been written to the Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs by several prominent chiefs, giving assurance of their loyalty 
to the United States, and expressing a wish for the presence of fed- 
eral troops to protect them. It is believed that upon the repos- 
session of the country by the federal forces the Indians will readily 
cease all hostile demonstrations, and resume their former relations to 
the government. 

Agriculture, confessedly the largest interest of the nation, has, 
not a department, nor a bureau, but a clerkship only, assigned to it 
in the government. While it is fortunate that this great interest is 
so independent in its nature as to not have demanded and extorted 
more from the government, I respectfully ask Congress to consider 
w^hether something more cannot be given voluntarily with general 

Annual reports exhibiting the condition of our agriculture, com- 
merce and manufactures would present a fund of information of great 
practical value to the country. "While I make no suggestion as to 
details, I venture the opinion that an agricultural and statistical bu- 
reau might profitably be organized. 

The execution of the laws for the suppression of the African slave 
trade has been confided to the Department of the Interior. It is a 
subject of gratulation that the eflbrts which have been made for the 
suppression of this inhuman traffic have been recently attended with 
unusual success. Five vessels being fitted out for the slave trade 
have been seized and condemned. Two mates of vessels engaged in 
the trade, and one person in equipping a vessel as a slaver, have been 
convicted and subjected to the penalty of fine and imprisonment, and 
one captain, taken with a cargo of Africans on board his vessel, has 
been convicted of the highest grade of offence under our laws, the 
punishment of which is death. 

The Territories of Colorado, Dakotah and Nevada, created by the 


last Congress, have been organized, and civil administration has been 
inaugurated therein under auspices especially gratifying, when it is 
considered that the leaven of treason was found existing in some of 
these new countries when the federal officers arrived there. 

The abundant natural resources of these Territories, with the se- 
curity and protection afforded by organized government, will doubt- 
less invite to them a large immigration when peace shall restore the 
business of the country to its accustomed channels. I submit the 
resolutions of the legislature of Colorado, which evidence the patriotic 
spirit of the people of the Territory. So far the authority of the 
United States has been upheld in all the Territories, as it is hoped it 
will be in the future. I commend their interests and defence to the 
enlightened and generous care of Congress. 

I recommend to the favorable consideration of Congress the interests 
of the District of Columbia. The insurrection has been the cause of 
much suffering and sacrifice to its inhabitants, and as they have no 
representative in Congress, that body should not overlook their just 
claims upon the government. 

At your late session a joint resolution was adopted authorizing the 
President to take measures for facilitating a proper representation 
of the industrial interests of the United States at the exhibition of 
the industry of all nations to be holden at London in the year 1862. 
I regret to say I have been unable to give personal attention to this 
subject — a subject at once so interesting in itself, and so extensively 
and intimately connected with the material prosperity of the world. 
Through the Secretaries of State and of the Interior a plan, or sys- 
tem, has been devised, and partly matured, and which will be laid 
before you. 

Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled ' ' An act to 
confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved 
August 6, 1861, the legal claims of certain persons to the labor and 
service of certain other persons have become forfeited ; and numbers 
of the latter, thus liberated, are already dependent on the United 
States, and must be provided for in some way. Besides this, it is 
not impossible that some of the States will pass similar enactments 
for their own benefit respectively, and by operation of which, persons 
of the same class will be thrown upon them for disposal. In such 
case I recommend that Congress provide for accepting such persons 
from such States, according to some mode of valuation, in lieu, pro 
tanto, of direct taxes, or upon some other plan to be agreed on with 


such States respectively ; that such persons, on such acceptance by the 
general government, be at once deemed free ; and that, in any event, 
steps be taken for colonizing both classes, (or the one first mentioned, 
if the other shall not be brought into existence,) at some place, or 
places, in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider, 
too, whether the free colored people already in the United States 
could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colo- 

To carry out the plan of colonization may involve the acquiring of 
territory, and also the appropriation of money beyond that to be 
expended in the territorial acquisition. Having practiced the acqui- 
sition of territory for nearly sixty years, the question of constitutional 
power to do so is no longer an open one with us. The power was 
questioned at first by Mr. Jefferson, who, however, in the purchase 
of Louisiana, yielded his scruples on the plea of great expediency. 
If it be said that the only legitimate object of acquiring territory is 
to furnish homes for white men, this measure effects that object ; 
for the emigration of colored men leaves additional room foi white 
men remaining or coming here. Mr. Jefferson, however, placed the 
importance of procuring Louisiana more on political and commercial 
grounds than on providing room for population. 

On this whole proposition, including the appropriation of money 
with the acquisition of territory, does not the expediency amount to 
absolute necessity — that, without which the government itself can- 
not be perpetuated ? 

The war continues. In comtidering the policy to be adopted for 
suppressing the insurrection, I have been anxious and careful that 
tlie inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a 
violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have, therefore, 
in every case, thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union 
prominent as the primary object of the contest on our part, leaving 
all questions which are not of vital military importance to the more 
deliberate action of the legislature. 

In the exercise of my best discretion I have adhered to the blockade 
of the ports held by the insurgents, instead of putting in force, by 
proclamation, the law of Congress enacted at the late session for 
closing those ports. 

So, also, obeying the dictates of prudence, as well as the obligations 
of law, instead of transcending, I have adhered to the act of 


Congress to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes. 
If a new law upon the same subject shall be proposed, its propriety 
will be duly considered. The Union must be preserved; and hence, 
all indispensable means must be employed. We should not be in 
haste to determine that radical, and extreme measures, Avhich mjiy 
reach the loyal as well as the disloyal, are indispensable. 

The inaugural address at the beginning of the Administration, and 
the message to Congress at the late special session, were both mainly 
devoted to the domestic controversy out of which the insurrection 
and consequent war have sprung. Nothing now occurs to add or 
subtract, to or from, the principles, or general purposes, stated and 
expressed, in those documents. 

The last ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably, expired 
at the assault upon Fort Sumter; and a general review of what has 
occurred since may not be unprofitable. What was painfully 
uncertain then, is much better defined and more distinct now; 
and the progress of events is plainly in the right direction. 
The insurgents confidently claimed a strong support from north of 
Mason and Dixon's line; and the friends of the Union were not free 
from apprehension on the point. This, however, was soon settled 
definitely, and on the right side. South of the line, noble little Dela- 
ware led off right from the first. Maryland was made to seem against 
the Union. Our soldiers were assaulted, bridges were burned, and 
railroads torn up, within her limits; and we were many days, at one 
time, without the ability to bring a single regiment over her soil 
to the capital. Now, her bridges and railroads are repaired and 
open to the government; she already gives seven regiments to 
the cause of the Union and none to the enemy; and her people, 
at a regular election, have sustained the Union, by a larger majority? 
and a larger aggregate vote than they ever before gave to any candi- 
date, or any question. Kentucky, too, for some time in doubt, is now 
decidedly, and, I think, unchangeably, ranged on the side of the 
Union. Missouri is comparatively quiet; and I believe cannot again 
be overrun by the insurrectionists. These three States of Maryland, 
Kentucky, and Missouri, neither of which would promise a single 
soldier at first, have now an aggregate of not less than forty thousand 
in the field, for the Union ; while, of their citizens, certainly not 
more than a third of that number, and they of doubtful whereabouts, 
and doubtful existence, are in arms against it. After a somewhat 


bloody struggle of months, winter closes on the Union people of 
western Virginia, leaving them masters of their own country. 

An insurgent force of about fifteen hundred, for months dominating 
the narrow peninsular region, constituting the counties of Accomac 
and Northampton, and known as eastern shore of Virginia, together 
with some contiguous parts of Maryland, have laid down their arms; 
and the people there have renewed their allegiance to, and accepted 
the protection of, the old flag. This leaves no armed insurrectionist 
north of the Potomac, or east of the Chesapeake. 

Also we have obtained a footing at each of the isolated points, on 
the southern coast, of Hatteras, Port Royal, Tybee Island, near 
Savannah, and Ship island; and we likewise have some general ac- 
counts of popular movements, in behalf of the Union, in North Caro- 
lina and Tennessee. I 

These things demonstrate that the cause of the Union is advancing 
steadily and certainly southward. 

Since your last adjournment. Lieutenant General Scott has retired 
from the head of the army. During his long life, the nation has not 
been unmindful of his merit; yet, on calling to mind how faithfully, 
ably, and brilliantly he has served the country, from a time far back 
in our history, when few of the now living had been born, and thence- 
forward continually, I cannot but think we are still his debtors. I 
submit, therefore, for your consideration, what further mark of recog- 
nition is due to him, and to ourselves, as a grateful people. 

With the retirement of General Scott came the executive duty of 
appointing, in his stead, a general-in-chief of the army. It is a for- 
tunate circumstance that neither in council nor country was there, so 
far as I know, any difference of opinion as to the proper person to be 
selected. The retiring chief repeatedly expressed his judgment in 
favor of General McClellan for the position; and in this the nation 
seemed to give a unanimous concurrence. The designation of Gene- 
ral McClellan is, therefore, in considerable degree, the selection of 
the country, as well as of the Executive; and hence there is better 
reason to hope there will be given him, the confidence, and cordial 
support thus, by fair implication, promised, and without which, he 
cannot, with so full efficiency, serve the country. 

It has been said that one bad general is better than two good ones; 
and the saying is true, if taken to mean no more than that an army 

Ex. Doc. 1 2 


is better directed by a single mind, thougb inferior, tlian by two 
superior ones, at variance, and cross-purposes with each other. 

And the same is true, in all joint operations wherein those engaged, 
can have none but a common end in view, and can differ only as to 
the choice of means. In a storm at sea, no one on board can wish 
the ship to sink; and yet, not unfrequently, all go down together, 
because too many will direct, and no single mind can be allowed to 

It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not ex- 
clusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government — the 
rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the 
most grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in 
the general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the 
abridgment of the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the 
people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers, 
except the legislative, boldly advocated, with labored arguments to 
prove that large control of the people in government, is the source 
of all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a 
possible refuge from the power of the people. 

In my present position, I could scarcely be justified were I to omit 
raising a warning voice against this approach of retarning despotism. 

It is not needed, nor fitting here, that a general argument should 
be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with 
its connexions, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief 
attention. It is the eff'ort to place capital on an equal footing with, 
if not above lahor^ in the structure of government. It is assumed 
that labor is available only in connexion with capital; that nobody 
labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of 
it, induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether 
it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to 
work by their own consent, or huy them, and drive them to it Avithout 
their consent. Having proceded so far, it is naturally concluded that 
all laborers are either hired laborers, or what we call slaves. And 
further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer, is fixed in 
that condition for life. 

Now, there is no such relation between capital and labor as 
assumed; nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for 


life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are 
false, and all inferences from them are groundless. 

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the 
fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first 
existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the 
higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of 
protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and 
probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital, pro- 
ducing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole 
labor of community exists within that relation. A few men own 
capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and, with their capital, 
hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong 
to neither class — neither work for others, nor have others working for 
them. In most of the southern States, a majority of the whole people 
of all colors, are neither slaves nor masters; while in the northern, 
a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with their 
families — wives, sons, and daughters — work for themselves, on 
tlaeir farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole 
product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one 
hand, nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten 
that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with 
capital — that is, they labor with their own hands, and also buy or 
hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed, and not a 
distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of 
this mixed class. 

Again: as has already been said, there is not, of necessity, any 
such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for 
life. Many independent men everywhere in these States, a few years 
back in their lives, were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless 
beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with 
which to buy tools or land for himself; then labors on his own account 
another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. 
This is the just, and generous, and prosperous system, which opens 
the way to all — gives hope to all, and consequent energy, and. pro- 
gress, and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more 
worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty — none less 
inclined to take, or touch, aught which they have not honestly 
earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which 


they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used 
to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix 
new disabilities and burdens upon them, till all of liberty shall be 

From the first taking of our National Census to the last, are seventy 
years; and we find our population, at the end of the period, eight 
times as great as it was at the beginning. The increase of those 
other things, which men deem desirable, has been even greater. "We 
thus have, at one view, what the popular principle, applied to gov- 
ernment, thi ough the machinery of the States and the Union, has 
produced in a given time; and also what, if firmly maintained, it 
promises for the future. There are already among us those who, if 
the Union be preserved, will live to see it contain two hundred and 
fifty millions. The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day — 
it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence, all the 
more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events 
have devolved upon us. 


Washington, December 3, 1861. 

Schedule A. 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, D. C, 1861. 

Rev. . 

Sir: Having been solicited by Christian ministers, and other pious 
people, to appoint suitable persons to act as chaplains at the hospitals 
for our sick and wounded soldiers, and feeling the intrinsic propriety 
of having such persons to so act, and yet believing there is no law 
conferring the power upon me to appoint them, I think fit to say that 
if you will voluntarily enter upon and perform the appropriate duties 
of such position, I will recommend that Congress make compensation 
therefor at the same rate as chaplains in the army are compensated. 

The following are the names and dates, respectively, of the persons 
and times to whom and when such letters were delivered : 

Rev. G. G. Goss September 25, 1861. 

Rev. John G. Butler September 25, 1861. 

Rev. Henry Bopkins September 25, 1861. 

Rev. F. M. Magrath October 30, 1861. 

Rev. F. E. Boyle October 30, 1861. 

Rev. John C. Smith November 7, 1861. -^ 

Rev. Wm. Y. Brown November 7, 1861. 


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